Sri Lanka stage stunning fightback vs Pakistan to win Asia Cup

Sri Lanka had lost half their side for just 58 but managed to win a sixth Asia Cup title with a 23-run win.

Put into bat, Sri Lanka were reeling at 58-5 in the ninth over after their top order wilted early. [Christopher Pike/Reuters]

Sri Lanka fought back from 58 for five after being put in to bat to tame Pakistan’s aggressive batting lineup and lift their sixth Asia Cup title courtesy a 23-run win in the final.

Sri Lanka, the original hosts before the tournament was moved to the UAE due to the political and economic situation in the country, were helped by Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s batting pyrotechnics and Wanindu Hasaranga’s all-round brilliance to secure the victory at Dubai stadium on Sunday.

Player-of-the-match Rajapaksa smashed an unbeaten 71 to help Sri Lanka weather a top-order collapse and reach 170 for six.

When they returned, Hasaranga claimed three wickets in one over and Pramod Madushan claimed a career-best 4-34 to bowl out Pakistan for 147 in exactly 20 overs.

Put into bat, Sri Lanka were reeling at 58-5 in the ninth over after their top order wilted early.

Naseem Shah began with a wide but soon redeemed himself by uprooting Kusal Mendis’s off-stump with the third legitimate delivery of the day.

Haris Rauf removed Pathum Nissanka and Danushka Gunathilaka in successive overs and Iftikhar Ahmed took a sharp return catch to cut short Dhananjaya de Silva’s knock of 28.

With Sri Lanka 67-5 at the halfway stage of their innings, Hasaranga (36) combined with Rajapaksa in their most productive partnership of 58 runs from 36 balls.

Fireworks go off after Sri Lanka won the T20 cricket Asia Cup final match against Pakistan, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, September11, 2022 [Anjum Naveed/AP Photo]

Rauf (3-29) removed Hasaranga but Rajapaksa remained unbeaten after an incendiary knock that included three sixes and six fours.

It was largely because of his 45-ball blitz that Sri Lanka plundered 103 runs from the last 10 overs.

When they returned, Madushan claimed two wickets in two balls to rock Pakistan.

Babar Azam was caught at short fine leg, while Fakhar Zaman dragged the next ball onto his stumps.

Madushan returned to dismiss Iftikhar (32) after the batsman had combined with Mohammad Rizwan (55) to revive their innings.

Hasaranga, who was later named player of the series, effectively derailed Pakistan’s chase when the spinner dismissed the dangerous Rizwan, Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah in the same over.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies